things i learned this weekend

this bird is not sleeping…


Mr Weiss and I noticed this beautiful brown speckled bird hovering alone quite near the house for a couple of days…. later we also discovered it in this position, I guess it had just been scoping out a peaceful place to die.

The pretty cows…


which terrorized us nightly last year when they kept getting loose and wandered aimlessly onto our lawn.  Oh how quaint you think, and so did we for the first 5 mins…. but when it became a regular occurrence for the month of September,  not penned in they went in search of greener pastures and fresher places to wreck havoc upon.  Yes, their big bodied hoof prints that turf up the lawn, not to mention the poo, oh the steaming green piles, you’ve never seen anything like it….  and then there was the case of the missing plum tree, yip one minute there, the next minute its a 2 ft stump left, this strange occurrence happened right after the cows showed up, so I’m pointing the finger there, is it possible they could eat a whole tree? Okay so it wasn’t some 50 year old firmly established generation-telling behemoth but it was a decently sized young fruit producing tree… They look pretty harmless here now don’t they, but let me tell you cows are more of a menace than you think.

The cows belong to the farmer who brought us this….


Okay so when we bought the house from the previous owners they left detailed instructions on the garden and what to do with it (obvious gardening enthusiasts) which is go down to our neighbor, the local farmer, and ask him for a load of “dry aged manure”, to put on the garden.  Sounds easy enough, apparently it’s all you need before your armed to the hilt with goodies of every variety (hopefully goodies that you actually planted),  from your very own garden.

Now I’m not exactly sure when I asked for this, and boy did I ask for it, what it was I would be getting, I guess in the back of my head I thought maybe it would be a big ole bag of the most beautiful rich looking soil, the type you can practically see the nutrients exuding from each delightful pebble.  Not packaged with gorgeous rustic farm font or anything like that, I’m not a complete moron, but I did think it might look like one of those white shrink wrapped hay bales you see randomly on farmland.

Yeah well its not, our farmer drove over in his tank truck, proceeded to practically pull wheelies over the budding lawn (I’m trying not to care about the tire ruts he left!) and then unloaded it in one foul swoop, a humongous steaming mixture of poo and hay – this my friends means “dry aged manure”.  Firstly it ain’t so dry, it’s got bits of hay poking every which way out in its most definitely recognizable poo, what’s so aged about it?

The picture above only shows half of what he left, the rest of it I spent all afternoon, again with Mr Weiss’s help shoveling it onto the raised garden beds…. I have no idea what to do with the rest of it, but it sure as shite ain’t staying there….

Being a neat freak in the country is a BAD combination! and gardening my friends is not easy.

This following recipe is for all of you that are just so inspired by my adventures above….unfortunately there is no accompanying photograph due to the fact that I have lost partial use of me meat hooks (arms) attributed to my pitchforking ordeal!

Shoofly Pie

recipe source from here

Mix for crumbs: (reserving ½ cup for topping)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon solid shortening
1 cup flour

1 cup molasses (good and thick)
¾ cup boiling water
1 egg beaten
1 Teaspoon baking soda

Combine soda with boiling water, then add egg and syrup. Add crumb mixture (this will be lumpy). Pour into unbaked pie crust and cover with reserved crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes (until firm). When cut into, the bottom may be “wet.” This is okay, and is called a “wet bottom shoo fly pie.”



  1. Posted April 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I am laughing so hard at your big pile of poo! Um, I was digging around my garden this weekend and I could swear that I smelled last years manure that I had put down. I don’t know if that’s possible, maybe it was coming from a neighbors yard but I don’t really think so. In any event I haven’t fertilized yet this year and what I use is bagged and processed (two bags usually does the trick). So I’m thinking “What the hell is she gonna do with all that dung and I hope the porch isn’t downwind of it!) You’ll be shooing flies all summer long without even turning on the oven.

  2. thecatskillkiwi
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    oh god, i didn’t even consider the FLY aspect….. but really am i gonna plant things in this?? i am somewhat nervous!

  3. Tina Rupp
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    first of all, you crack me up!
    next, shoofly pie, now that is a clever gross out moment after that story!

    you are going to have to get them to come back now with some regular soil to fill in the tire marks! then seed it! you’re in it now!!!

  4. Posted April 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I’m positively wild about that cow photo.

  5. Mame Johnston
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    The bird looks like a chuck-will’s-widow. They are about 12″ long and have an amazing song around dusk. They are often mistaken for whip-poor-wills which are about 9.75″. The Wild Birds Unlimited website has most birds identified with their songs included. Check it out sometime when you have nothing to do, ha, ha!!
    As for the poo, make sure it’s not too HOT as it will kill your plants immediately. Ask me how I know!!!
    Good luck with it all.

  6. Jill
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    What to do with a pile of manure??? throw some Wildflower seeds on it and stand back! Lavender is excellent planting companion with vegs as the bees are encouraged to hover.
    Not that keen on the recipe!

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